There are some people in my life, some conditions I’ve had, and situations I’ve experienced where I’ve tried everything to “make it better.”
Migraines: still here after decades of tried and supposedly true cures, both natural and medicinal.
Situations: does any one know where I can find a fresh million?
But I’m here to talk about the cure I need most, the darkness that is torturous and hardly bearable at times… I’m here to talk about those close relationships and the people I love so dearly, but can’t seem to reconcile with, or make peace with, or be forgiven by, or even reach a place where we just try that whole “love your neighbor (even if you’re related) thing…..”
That place is where the greatest pain dwells within my heart. I’m here to tell you, I am well-acquainted with physical pain, not including 10 natural childbirths and 3 miscarriages. I am very well acquainted with poverty of the money kind, and I’m very familiar with mental pain that seems to follow these two types of suffering, or sneaks up on me anyway, because it’s genetic in my family.
The worst for me seems to be outright rejection by a small number loved ones, especially loved ones who meant the world to me. And I’m talking about those few people I’ve tried so hard to be everything and everyone to, people I’ve loved with all my heart (and still do), and people I’ve relentlessly tried to offer my love….. and they, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t receive it.
First, I tried logic. Rationality. As I’m a natural debater and notice inconsistencies like I notice a large zit on my nose, I can see all the inconsistencies complete with the context of history and “proof.” Inconsistencies and hypocrisy torture me, mainly because I have OCD in my blood, but also because I am frightfully honest and transparent. I figure, if you’ve got a faith, and you’re going to go through all the trouble to practice it, you may as well live it instead of scandalizing or confusing those who are seeking the truth….
But not everyone operates that way. Let me say that I, too, am a hypocrite and inconsistent at times because I am deeply flawed and lack perfection. But I am writing about those who have so many walls built around their hearts that have little or nothing to do with me, that they, in essence, drive me out of their lives without even realizing it.
And I could write books on this brokenness within myself caused by such rejection, and I could lick my wounds forever.
But I discovered that dwelling on my pain due to other people’s actions gives them a sort of victory over my life that they not only don’t deserve, but that I don’t deserve either.
And I have figured out that all the logic in the world may not “bring some people around,” especially if they are living a life of fear or have unsolved grudges that are so complex and so old, that I in my little-ness couldn’t even begin to unravel them.
So what does one do then, if loved ones just won’t even try to reconcile, or make any sense, or seek healing?
Love relentlessly, even if they don’t deserve it. Now, I’m not suggesting welcoming toxic people into your life if they present a physical or mental danger to you, or pull you away from God…. (There are some, a few people, you may discover to be dangerous, and I would suggest keeping them out of your life and simply praying for them…. I’m not talking about these types of people…) If they are not a true threat to you, there are ways to love from a distance.
First, what I do is offer them to God, because in truth, we know little about each soul, even if we are the top psychologist or relational specialist in the world. Secondly, I stop licking my wounds and dwelling on how much they hurt me. I do that thing where you wipe your hands from a pile of flour after baking bread. And thirdly, I make a decision to just love. I stop all the logic and defenses (while they’re not ready to hear it) and I stop trying to make earthly sense, and I just LOVE THEM.
Many times, I’ve noticed that this cures the hardest of hearts and the most unreasonable of people. And I feel a whole lot better myself… I can maintain joy in the midst of the pain, and I free myself from their misery (and my own).
And, as St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta famously said, “It was never between you and them anyway.”
P.S. The picture above is of a beautiful young lady who loved us (and all she meets) without even knowing us at first….. and who welcomed us like family for no particular reason other than pure love and zeal for her faith. And her inspiration reminds me of how to live out that Greatest Commandment to Love.